As Dick and I head back to Newport, after a most civilized lockdown in Key West (Rt. 1 in the Keys has been closed to all non-residents since mid March), we aren’t especially concerned about our trek back to New England. We’ll be following common sense guidelines as we travel to Palm Beach, Beaufort, Charleston, Pinehurst, before heading NW to pick up I-84 through Virginia and into Pennsylvania/NY/CT via I-81.
We’ll not be stopping at my sister and brother-in-law’s farm overlooking the Peaks of Otter on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Disappointing for sure, but we’ll have traveled through too many states, made too many stops, and been exposed to too many people to make visiting a sensible option.
We look forward to seeing what the world looks like and what the general tone is beyond the sleepy Florida Keys. Most likely it will be a little early for presidential lawn sign polling.
Heading out, there is still much science not known about the Coronavirus. As states start awakening, we still don’t know what the true mortality rate is. What is a safe social distance and how contagious is the virus? Of carriers, what percentage is asymptomatic?
Coronavirus – Keep up a Good Offense with Defense
In The Blog of Michael D. Eades, MD, the doctor reminds readers of a physiologic truth to Covid-19: the best offense against infection is a good defense. That is, a strong, responsive immune system.
Vitamin D, a Selective Regulator of the Immune System
With a targeted coronavirus-killing medication still on the horizon, Dr. Eades offers advice.
Most of us have a targeted built-in defense system and responsive immune system, and Dr. Eades urges people to bolster their defense systems with the miracle drug know as 1,25(OH)2D3, better known as Vitamin D.
Vitamin D upregulates the production of immune modulating peptides in the respiratory tract, making it especially important to fend off getting a cold, the flu, or in this case covid-19. Adequate levels of Vitamin D help to make your immune system more bulletproof against viral assault.
A major reason there is a winter “flu season” in North America is because we humans rely on the sun’s rays to naturally convert cholesterol in our skin to this critical vitamin/hormone that famously protects our bones and teeth but equally importantly also bolsters our immune function. We make less of it in winter, especially in northern climes, because it’s cold and we’re bundled up and the sun’s rays are weakened because they’re coming in at a steep angle, passing through a lot more atmosphere on the way to us.
Ideally, during the summer months, we would restore our vitamin D levels depleted by winter through regular skin exposure, but today’s sun-phobic recommendations to block sun exposure every time we walk outside means we end up blocking our vitamin D conversion as well.
Weak sun, however, is better than no sun. Get outdoors to receive as much unblocked sun exposure on face and arms as is possible every day the weather cooperates with sunny skies and less frigid temps, writes Dr. Eades. Even a low-SPF sunscreen will block the rays that are responsible for this conversion, so a northern winter is no time to use it.
Get Vitamin D from Food Sources
What you eat can make a difference as well. Vitamin D is found abundantly in mackerel (yuk) and salmon and to a smaller degree in tuna, sardines, and anchovies. It’s plentiful in liver, too, and especially in cod liver oil.
Common Sense Goes a Long Way
Wash your hands like you’re Lady Macbeth. Or use anti-microbial hand sanitizer before you touch anything else. Be diligent about following simple, common sense practices to help avoid respiratory illness:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water.
- Keep your hands away from nose or eyes (viruses enter through these mucus membranes).
- Get unblocked sun on your skin as often as you can.
- Eat foods high in vitamin D regularly.
- Take a vitamin D3/K2 supplement daily in fall and winter.
And may we be confident that everyone is following the rules.